Erin Henderson was enjoying a Sunday afternoon on the couch, looking out the window with her toddler, when she noticed something unusual across the street.
She spotted a bobcat walking through snowy front yards on the other side of Sherwood Drive in North Kamloops.
Surprised by the rare sighting, Henderson managed to take a bit of video of the wild cat as it strolled through her urban neighbourhood. Her husband captured some video footage and photos of it from the driveway.
Henderson said the cat, which she thought was a lynx, didn’t seem skittish when her husband called out to it at about 1:20 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 25).
Henderson said she wished she had her 200-millimetre camera lens to capture images the animal, which she hopes was just passing through.
Conservation officer Graydon Bruce said there is no risk to public safety and the animal is believed to be a bobcat, based on a number of eyewitness accounts of its physical appearance and the area within which it was roaming.
Bruce said bobcats, rather than lynx, are more common to the west side of the North Shore.
People are advised to keep pets on leashes and give the animal plenty of space. He said the Conservation Officer Service is not attempting to capture the bobcat as it’s believed it will pass through the area on its own.
The North Shore bobcat attracted plenty of attention on Sunday as multiple people posted pictures on social media of the cat wandering through the area, with sightings on McArthur Island and on Willow Street, in addition to the nearby Sherwood Drive.
While native to B.C., bobcats and lynx rarely visit the North Shore neighbourhood, according to WildsafeBC.
One way to tell the two species apart is by the markings on their tails. The tail of a lynx is solid black at its tip, whereas a bobcat’s tail shows white, which appears to be the case with this cat, given the circulating footage.
“It’s definitely got people very excited because it’s around in broad daylight and walking through people’s yards and crossing streets,” WildsafeBC provincial co-ordinator Vanessa Isnardy told KTW. “It’s a little bit unusual to see that kind of behaviour from a bobcat, for sure,”
Lynx and bobcats are typically solitary animals living in forested areas where there’s more shelter and cover.
“You wouldn’t find them in an urban environment,” Isnardy said.
It’s unclear what caused the animal to come out of its shell, but Isnardy said, anecdotally, unusual weather tends to bring out unusual animal behaviour. It’s been unseasonably snowy and cold in Kamloops recently for late October. Isnardy said bobcats typically feast on small mammals such as rabbits, hares and rodents, but can also take down larger prey.
She said WildsafeBC recommends people keep their pet cats indoors and have all pets on leashes.
She said people with livestock, such as chickens, should also take precautions.